My 5 Predictions for the 2014 Oakland Raiders

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September 29, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles offensive linesman Menelik Watson (71) Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2) Menelik Watson Finishes the Season as Starting Left Tackle

Same philosophy, different postion….You see a trend here?

Young beats out old in the NFL, and one of my favorite young players is offensive tackle Menelik Watson.

I strongly belive Watson was drafted to eventually become the Left Tackle of the future for the Oakland Raiders. I think Reggie McKenzie and the coaching staff never believed Jared Veldheer was a true LT, which ultimately resulted in him leaving Oakland.

Watson, the second round pick from the  2013 NFL Draft has a special and rare physical skill set.  Watson was raw out of college but was projected as an eventual left tackle in the pros.

Can Watson overcome the injury bug is the big question? Which is why the Raiders jumped on the experienced Donald Penn after being released by Tampa Bay. Penn will allow the Raiders to let Watson prove himself on the right side, before eventually taking over at left tackle.

The Raiders are hoping the injuries were more a result of Watson getting acclimatized to NFL conditioning, than lingering issues. Even at this stage, Watson’s athleticism, size, and power are all elite….he just needs refinement and playing time.

I predict Watson will supplant Donald Penn as the starting Left Tackle by mid-season, either due to injury or play. Penn who has shown disinterest in moving to right tackle, will most likely have no choice and will probably have more success there at this stage in his career.